Monday, February 13, 2017

Who Was Melvin Muffknuckles?

Happy Valentines Day!  Yes, another Valentines Day is here and I am wondering how it is going to turn out for me.  Is it a very big day for you?  It never seemed very big to me, but then I start remembering some of those days and they make me laugh, feel very nostalgic, or bring back some very fond memories.  So far today I planned a nice kind of fancy meal for Carla, Jim and I and even bought a "dozen" roses that I have chosen to believe Melvin Muffknuckles sent to me.  Now you KNOW a story has to be coming next, right?  First of all I had to put dozen in quotes because there were only 9 long stemmed roses, 2 stems and one blossom that had fallen off a stem.  I got them from a bin in Walmart marked $4.67, a real bargain! When I checked out at a self check out station they rang up at over $15.00!  Being self check out I messed around a bit and finally decided Melvin still would have bought them for me, so I got them anyway.
My roses from Melvin Muffknuckles


The rest of this story has to have a spoiler warning for some of my own children--it will probably be a tear-jerker......
So who is Melvin Muffknuckles?  That has been a question never exactly answered.  Here is how it goes.  Back in the day when I was teaching Home Economics at North Park High School in Walden, Colorado, my students had to raise money to travel to FCCLA conferences and competitions.  At this school we did it on Valentines Day by selling roses.  The first year we sold fresh ones that someone had to go pick up in Laramie (60 miles away over a snow covered pass).  We took orders for about a week and then ordered them from a florist in Laramie and of course once we started delivering them more people wanted to order some so a parent had to make a quick trip back down there to get some more.  It was very successful but stressful as well.  Anyway, 3 of my 4 children were still in Jr. or Sr. High School at the time and some were involved in the fund raiser.  Toward the end of the day a delivery was made to me of some roses from Melvin Muffknuckles.  My students and my own kids all claimed they didn't know who it was.
The next year we all learned how to make silk roses and I got supplies from a warehouse in Denver and they turned out just beautiful!  It was very successful and way less stressful although we all had to work hard to get so many made.  I again received roses from Melvin Muffknuckles!  Still no one fessed up to knowing anything about it.  We continued making silk roses for Valentines Day for many years and I kept receiving them and no one ever did confess.  Over the years I received other gifts from Melvin and I always suspected it was my husband, Bob Manville, who sent them.  Today I decided these roses should be from him too. They are beautiful!
Have a great Valentines Day!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Back With Online Sewing Resources for my Friends!!

It has been a long time since I was here but some friends requested these lists of good online resources for patterns and fabric so here they are and I think I'll just add the post I mentioned at the end of the lists! I needed to jazz up the blog so here are a few pictures from our Christmas at Palm Desert, California.

Christmas in California with some of my family! In front:

 Paul and Thomas Row 2; Britt and me. 

Back:  Jim, Carla and Caroline 

   Resources to Buy Online Fabric

Here is a list of some of the many online fabric sights that I or someone in
 my family
 have used.   Many of these offer a sample pack so you can feel and see what 
the actual
 fabric is like.  Since we have limited sources for fabrics, especially knits I 
think it is
 worthwhile to check these out.

1.     Zenith and Quasar Fabrics-- https://www.zenithandquasar.com/  
love these 
knit fabrics!  They have prints, Active wear fabric, some stretch velvet, 
some panels
.  They do not have a lot but what they do have is really great fabric!  They
 do have
 a free sample pack

2.    Girl Charlee-- https://www.girlcharlee.com/
Girl Charlee Fabrics is your online retail and wholesale source for top
 quality unique knit fabrics. We offer exclusive knit fabrics by the yard
 at the lowest price. You may find it somewhere else, but it will not be 
cheaper!  Girl Charlee Fabrics offers hundreds of different prints and
 solid cotton jersey knit, cotton lycra knit, cotton ribbed knit fabrics, and
 much more. We offer fabrics by the yard, in half yard cuts, and our
 famous multiple yard bargain lots!

3.  Purple Seamstress -- purpleseamstressfabric.com/  Your source for
 unique, fun, quality fabrics.  Lots to look at here!

4.  Sew So English Fabrics -- http://sosewenglishfabrics.com/ Welcome to
 So Sew English Fabrics! We are happy to be thriving and that you all are
 so excited over our fabrics! We focus on supplying you only the best quality
 apparel knits, wovens, trims and appliques. If we wouldn't bother sewing 
with it, we won't stock it in our store. For now that means that our order 
processing time is longer than we would like due to popularity.  The shipping
 time may be longer but it is a cool sight and worth looking at.  It has knits
 and wovens.

5. You Made Something-- www.youmadesomething.com/ lots of fabric
from quilting cotton, themed fabrics, knits, notions, bargains you name it
 they probably have it!  I have made leggings and knit tops with fabric from them.

6.  Snowy Owl Creations --https://www.snowyowlshoppe.com/ --  Thank you
 for visiting Snowy Owl Custom Fabrics and Hawaiian Fabrics & More. 
We offer quality, unique, and affordable fabrics.  I bought winter prints here that I
 have been making into leggings.  They have a wide selection of knits and also
 Hawaiian prints that are woven.  They also have custom preordering that my 
daughter uses but I have never tried!

7. Knitpop   knitpop.com/ Lots and lots of knits! French Terry, Poly blends,
 sweater knits of all kinds, Liverpool, you name it they probably have it!  I have
 made lots of things from Knitpop and have a stash for making more when 
summer comes!

8.  Fabric.com -- fabric.com-- home decor, apparel, quilting fabrics plus notions,
 bargains, etc.  This is like JoAnn’s or Hancock’s online.  I have had some good 
luck here but you might want to try to get some swatches before going wild!

Hot tubbing on Christmas Day in the yard of 

our rented house














There are a lot more sights for fabric shopping!
  Many of these sights have Facebook pages that 
have discounts, sales and auctions on them if you
 wish to join their groups.  I usually just buy
 the fabric from the sight.  I know I got a lot of 
fabric from Knitpop when they were having a
 sale one time….


 Resources for Online Patterns

1.      Patterns for Pirates--.Patterns for Pirates is all about stylish,
 modern design
 for everyday, wearable clothes for the whole family. From baby 
to adult these 
PDF sewing patterns will fill wardrobes with comfortable pieces
that will be worn
 over and over again. www.patternsforpirates.com/.  Free pattern
 if you join their 
Facebook page.
2.     Love Notions--At Love Notions you’ll find modern sewing
 patterns for 
the whole family. All patterns are instant downloadable
 pdf’s. https://www.lovenotions.com/.  Free pattern if you
 join their Facebook page.
3.     Stitch Upon A Time-- PDF sewing patterns for men, women,
 children. stitchuponatime.com/. 
4.      So Sew Easy--  A great sight for sewers and quilters.  Lots of
 sewing tips, free
 patterns and patterns for sale for clothing, purses, crafts and 
much more.  Lists of 
fabric resources as well.   http://so-sew-easy.com/
5.     Made For Mermaids -- What are we about?? Sweet, simple
 and girly patterns.
 Garments you and your children can wear everyday comfortably,
 but can easily
 dress up too! We’re here to help and love to share our love of 
sewing. Girls, 
Mamas, freebies. https://www.madeformermaids.com/
6.      According to my daughter who has 2 sons in their 20’s this
 is the best raglan pattern for men. 
https://www.etsy.com/
listing/257586874/jerrys-raglan-shirt-mens-pdf-sewing

 Facebook pages where you can join and get codes in order to get some
 pattern for free.  There are many other places to get patterns if you want 
to do a Google search but these
 I or someone in my family have used and like their patterns.  Some of 
these sights have Facebook pages where you can join  and get codes in
 order to get some patterns for free.


I guess I can't copy and paste my other
 blog so here is the URL if you want to
 see it.

 http://www.blakemansewvac.com/
blog/index.php/2017/01/08/is-garment-sewing-obsolete/

Sorry for the small print.  I'm having trouble 
formatting!


Climbing rocks in Joshua National Park   

Evening as we headed back to Palm

 Desert from our

 day of  rock climbing in Joshua

 National Park 
































































Sunday, January 11, 2015

Memories of Backwoods

This is one of the Backwoods Christmas parties.  The only Backwoods picture I have at this time.



 Back row: Einar Erikson, Harold Zuehlke, Ransom Tyler (my Dad), Ned Elton  Sitting:Rick Zuehlke, Pug (my Mom), Tom Erikson, Tip (my brother) in front, Henrietta Erikson, Janet Erikson(in front), KD Elton, Me in the grey sweater, Lynn (my sister), Eddie Elton.  Sitting in front on the right: Sue Zuehlke, Phoebe Zuehlke and I think Ned's Grandmother sitting in the chair.

Now I am going way back to reminisce about the great times we had in our neighborhood which we called Backwoods.  These memories were brought on because I just received word that the eldest of the Backwoods kids, Rick, has just passed away.  There were 8 of us and Rick Zuehlke lived next door and was probably 5 or 6 years older than I was.  The rest of the kids in backwoods were:  Janet and Tom Erikson, Sue Zuehlke (my best friend and confidant of our childhood.  She is a year older than I.), Lynn (my sister), Tip (my brother), and Ned Elton (Closest in age to me and my "boyfriend" through our childhood).

  We were a close knit group of kids because we lived sort of "out in the country".  We all went to the same elementary school (fondly called Jefferson Jailhouse) and were more like sisters and brothers than friends.  All of our parents went together and bought a piece of property from a farmer and built 5 houses in the farmer's backwoods during the depression!  It was so unusual that The Milwaukee Journal did a piece on the construction, complete with pictures, back when they were building the houses in the early 1930's. This was before I was born, of course.  The property was located about  a quarter of a mile from the Milwaukee/Waukesha county line.  Jefferson School was 1.2 miles from our houses and we walked and then later rode our bikes to get there and back home. It had started out as a 2 room school (I'm pretty sure Rick and Janet were in school at that time), but each room was then divided into 2 rooms and by the time I went there, there were 2 classes in each room.  There was no kindergarten so none of us except my brother (the youngest of the Backwoods kids) even went to kindergarten.

The backwoods was a pretty big piece of property of many acres and we had woods and ravines to play in.  Each family had a large vegetable garden (WWII was in full swing in my very early days and they were called Victory Gardens) and the Eltons  (who lived next to us on the other side) had grape vines and a raspberry patch down over the hill in back of their house. (the scene of one of our major adventures).   They had a chicken coop too.  Dad had an asparagus patch down there and there were currant bushes that Mom had us pick from to make currant jelly.  We had a chicken coop, apple trees, and a place for a milk cow (Daisy) too.  Dad had a compost hole that he made fertilizer in and he also tapped all our maple trees and Mom made maple syrup from the sap.  It was our job to collect the sap each day in the spring.

Some of my other memories of those early times were of Dad picking honeysuckle blossoms and Mom making honeysuckle fritters with them.  I never have tried it myself but I do remember how we loved those fritters! Dad also had crabapple trees and at least one plum tree.  I remember that Dad would get up early and go out and pick flowers for Lynn and I to put in our hair on Sundays and he always had fresh flowers for the house all summer long.

 Every week or so all summer the families of the neighborhood would take turns hosting a potluck Backwoods picnic. These were not quite the backyard barbeques we all think of now.  None of our properties were fenced so we had all 5 yards to play in.  The picnic sights were not too near the houses and we did not have barbeque grills. Our moms cooked over the open fire or made most of the food at the house and then brought it to the picnic sight. The grownups would sit around the fire visiting long after dark and all the kids would play 50 all scatter, Sardines, and other games using the whole neighborhood as our playground.  There were no city streets, only our private dirt road that the 5 houses used to access West Howard Avenue.

The other Backwoods event was an annual Christmas party.  It was hosted each year by a different family.  It was a potluck and I think our moms organized it so whoever hosted it had the main dish and the family that had it the last year brought the dessert and so on.  All the kids drew names for giving presents and I think there were family gifts given by each family to each family.  We had a big feast and then the whole group would play Charades (when we got old enough).  Oh how we loved playing that game!  I guess the youngest kids had to go to bed so it was a right of passage when you got to play Charades with the grownups!



There were other Backwoods gatherings but those were parts of our adventures to be remembered another day!

So long, Rick, I never forgot you calling me Vanilla Pecan instead of Penelope Ann, the time you tried to get Sue and I to pose sitting under the hose you hooked up to the clothesline pole so it dripped cold water on us in 99 degree and 95% humidity weather so you could take a picture to enter in a photo contest, and your early Disney movies shown on a sheet that you charged us a few pennies to watch after dark night after night. I will always picture you working on that Model T station wagon in your driveway.